I have been feeling out of sorts. The grief lingers... the changes in our life without Paul still jump at us when we least expect them to. I am equal parts happy and sad when my kids feel down...I keep reminding them that the strength of their relationship with Grandpa is what is causing this sadness. Had there been none, they wouldn't feel much. But there are moments that just grab you without warning and you sort of look around thinking, "Hey! I thought this was over." But it's not and it won't be until it is. Or, maybe it won't ever be and we will just live in this new way. I think that is the unsettling part... accepting that this IS the new way. The other part of this is understanding that everyone in my family needs something so different. I like to talk because it keeps Paul alive. Big Man doesn't, or can't, for too long. It's a sticky wicket trying to manage and respect individual needs.
This, combined with the shift to summer, has been sort of rocky. I didn't mean to be busy, but a daily run to tennis lessons (I am frantically trying to finish this between dashes to the courts) with two kids at two different times seems to suck away at my morning. The afternoons are full of swimming and the library and chores and reading and music and who-knows-what-might-come. I have tried to set my sights low on personal accomplishments and am wondering just how low I can go.
And while I don't have a wildfire lurking in my backyard, I do have a pre-pubescent tween who seems to be in for a long slow smolder as well. I am thankful for the supporting cast of aunties whose gentle and funny ways will guide both of us through. I really am banking on the fact that she won't remember her harpy exasperated, short-tempered mom but fun-filled trips to Camp Auntie. Diverting college funds to a therapist will remain an option for awhile.
All of this is to say that my MAJOR accomplishment for the summer thus far is whittling down 694 g-mails to 24. These messages went back three years ago. I could chronicle my involvement with the marriage amendment, my communications with CNN editors, The Huffington Post, and a few local editors. There were emails regarding our journey to finding an acreage and learning about Andrew being killed and trips being planned and friends whose hearts have been broken and inquiries to me regarding my job interests and personal messages from writers I admire. The whole spring of Paul's illness was there as well as book club dates and reminders of favorite recipes I wanted to try. I know it sounds silly, but this task made me feel better. While this month of June has been a wash as far as visible progress, I can see that I have had an active life, I have created new friendships, renewed old ones, and continue to maintain those that feed me in my daily life. I have put myself out there in ways I could never have imagined three years ago in writing and speaking and teaching. One slow month does not define my life.
It always hardest to see in the thick of things....a message I need to send to myself a little more often, I think. And from all this turmoil, new things are brewing even if I don't know what they are yet.
For now gentle reminders that I am where I am supposed to be are the whispers that carry me throughout my day.